October Again and Again

               I think your face is beautiful, the way it is
               close to my face, and I think you are the real
               October with your transparence and the stone
               of your words as they pass, as I do not hear them.
	               -- Bill Berkson, October


October again
and again it's full 
of you. Can you feel
this small sadness 
as it climbs inside 
and undresses you.
How an orchestra 
of hands can promise 
to be noteless.  
Outside everything 
is beautiful and dying. 
Can you feel this yawning
mouth that only wants
and wants. The intimacy
of small talk without 
the immutability of its 
damage. Is it possible
to fall back asleep
in your contours
without subverting your 
heart into a hallway.
I know I didn't get it right
the first time. 

Can you feel that. Inside me
something insatiable
comes to life.
It reaches up my throat
with its claws. Wants
to be petted and fed
cold milk. Wants to show up
on your doorstep. But aren't I
an expert on restraint. Again
and again. I practice small refusals. 
I do not touch. I throw out 
the milk. I try to unremember
the sound of you laughing.
The way your face looked sad
but honest in some moonlight.
The way time continues to elapse
patiently. A heart that beats 
slowly and sadly 
still beats. Still ventures
to unremember. What 
could you have stored up
to tell me anyway.
After all this time.
What would you 
say to me
if you 
were not 
afraid.


Oh, I Remember You

You've snuck around here before,
dangling inside the word forget like a tiny bell
on a leash.

Swaying inside our darkness
you noiseless bat.

Begging me to neglect you.

Oh, I remember
you said it will be okay, like you could know
and like I asked you and like it would be.

Well. The heart is like a mirror,
it can only be broken once.

I'm not mad.

If love was meant to be bloodless
then why would we have
knuckles to grind

and lips to chew on?
I never asked you to go easy on me.

Really.  Show me true anguish, yours,
and I will show you mine.  

Winks.

So we glue the mirror back together
and it still reflects, but so distorted.

Anyone can love a demented thing
if it is done just right.
If it is just done right.

I can't help the way I am. 

If only you
had a sickly half-heart like mine, you would understand.
This is my weak attempt at telling the truth--
     I usually just watch you stumble around
     and feel your way through the dim corridor.

Are you starting to understand?

My heart is like a mirror,
it will show you who you really are.

I have always chosen a severe life
even when I said I wouldn't.
I was resolute. I was brave. But I still never figured it out:
              how to  behave, how to be tender,
         how to be selfless, how to start over.
I opened the book on my lap,
but only sat there crying. It is hard
to be your own terrorist.

Really who doesn't want to be remembered
as better than we are?
Every day I have allowed you
to overemphasize my gentleness.
This is when I have been most selfish.

Who can blame me? You said hello so nicely
that I didn't sense any interpersonal boundaries.

For once, I did not have to be gracious.
I did not have to starve myself for days
or defy my impulses.

No, for once I let the desperate animal
in my bones devour what it craved most.
Yes, I remember
you.

After You

The summer slipped away again,
washed away in heavy rain,
turning itself over to a burnt October

The pear trees slowly slumped beneath
the balmy weight of southern sky
and finally they bore their swollen fruit

Now the mild autumn days roll by calmly,
slow as summer thunder.
This house is very quiet.

Outside the world keeps blooming into auburn color,
flooding through the kitchen windows
where I am baking bread or reading novels

Even the bees drift lazily among the fallen pears
fermenting in the sun.  I watch them start to fly
then float back down to the sugar-bruised fruit

Surely nothing is more silent
than steam escaping hot bread broken
alone, than black tea going cold.